Last week a couple of the team ventured over the hill from Queenstown to Wanaka to visit some of our favourite villas in the area from our Premium Residences & Mega Villa Collection. Only a 1-hour drive from Queenstown CBD, Wanaka is the quieter sister to the adventure capital in the south. With boutique stores, stunning wineries, some of our favourite and most exclusive experiences on offer, and let’s not forget the lake and mountain views, Wanaka offers a slice of lakeside luxury away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Whether you’re thinking about a fully family getaway, a romantic retreat for two, a celebration with friends, or simply for a dreamy spot to take some well-deserved R&R, Wanaka and our Premium Residences & Mega Villa Collection have something to suit your every need, want, and desire.
So here we have – Five of the most exclusive stays to find in your very own backyard.
1. Mahu Whenua
3. Mt Isthmus
4. The Dacha
This luxurious high-country homestead offers a unique lodge-style accommodation just 20 minutes’ drive from Wanaka or 10 minutes by helicopter from Queenstown. From the moment you arrive at Mahu Whenua you’ll instantly know that you are somewhere special. In complete privacy, the Homestead boasts captivating views of Lake Wanaka and the surrounding mountains. Behind the Homestead and stables extends an immense land of classic New Zealand scenery – grand mountains, alpine lakes, meandering rivers and winding valleys.
With five luxurious Ridgeline Suites that can sleep up to 12 guests, Mahu Whenua offers individual suites as well as being available for exclusive use. The outdoor terrace is the perfect spot for entertaining. The private pool and pool toys will be sure to keep the children entertained as the adult sit back for a long BBQ lunch served in the gardens.
If you’re looking for a romantic escape, the Tui Suite is a must at Mahu Whenua. A dreamy bathtub overlooking the mountains is the perfect spot to relax with a glass of bubbles after a day exploring Wanaka.
Whare Kea is a timeless retreat, providing luxury accommodation on the shores of Lake Wanaka, set against the dramatic backdrop of the Southern Alps. Located only ten minutes’ drive from Wanaka’s town centre, time seems to slow and opportunities unfold.
The experience at Whare Kea is bespoke and versatile – on the one hand a base for adventure big or small in the wilds of Wanaka and the wider Central Otago region, on the other a safe and peaceful haven.
Nestled above Lake Wanaka and secluded from view, guests have exclusive access to this piece of paradise.
With timeless interior styling, the lodge is positioned to bask in the stunning vistas and the sun. Designed for relaxation, and with plenty of space, the lodge accommodates up to 12 guests. Features include a private hot tub, heli-pad, private access to Lake Wanaka, and a games room complete with pool table and mini bar.
The newest addition to The Lindis Group, Mt Isthmus is one that has to been seen to be believed. Sitting on a 7000 acre station, the villa looks out over Lake Hawea — which is one of New Zealand’s best kept secrets. Rugged and steep mountain ranges climb straight out of the lake’s shores on all sides, and with some of the clearest waters in the country it really is a sight to be savoured.
As is typical with The Lindis Group properties, the villa leaves nothing to be desired. The four suites are the epitome of luxury with super king-size beds; each with an ensuite, the latest in interior furnishings and views that make waking up an unforgettable experience.
The dining facilities are of the highest standard with a state-of-the-art kitchen and with the luxury of having our chefs take care of your meals providing five-star service and creatively refined menus.
Sandwiched between two gorgeous glacial lakes, and with Mt Isthmus looming over our shoulders, it can be quite easy to forget the world exists outside our premium villa experience.
One of our favourites in our Collection must be The Dacha. Only 10 minutes’ drive from Wanaka, The Dacha gives a sense of living inside a watercolour painting. As you walk along the long corridor and turn into the lounge, the unforgettable views over Lake Wanaka really do hit you with a WOW.
With retractable doors stretching the length of the property, The Dacha has an effortless flow throughout. The open plan living, dining, kitchen, and ‘outdoor’ BBQ makes for a dream place to entertain guests.
Between the master, two queen suites, and two double bunk rooms (sleeping 8), The Dacha is the perfect spot for a multigenerational getaway. The separate living space also provides and extra space for the kids to relax as the adults enjoy a hosted dinner on the long terrace by the pool.
With the additional Banya only a stones throw from the main property, this separate unit offers a slice of privacy for guests to join your break away. With a small kitchenette, private bathroom, lounge and mini terrace, The Banya is available separately from The Dacha for a romantic weekend break.
Last stop for the day was Cardrona Terraces. Only a ten-minute drive from Wanaka this exquisite hunting lodge oozes finesse and flair from the moment you enter the long driveway. Drawing inspiration from the early Spanish Missions of California, the property has an eclectic range of characteristics rarely found in New Zealand. The architecture is harmoniously paired with an ultra-premium, yet cozy interior design.
Positioned on 42 acres (17 hectares) of land, Cardona Terraces benefits from ultimate privacy within tranquil surrounds. The grandeur of the property starts from the moment of arrival, with large wooden doors providing entry to the dramatic central atrium.
With six-bedroom suits available, a large outdoor terrace, a separate whisky room, two lounges and a long dining table, Cardrona Terraces is the ultimate spot for those looking for active days out in the mountains, followed by a fully hosted lodge experience.
Tempted by wonderful Wanaka? Talk to Jacqui and the team today and let us show you something new in New Zealand.
And just like that, winter is almost here! With Queens birthday weekend just gone, it was amazing to see so many of our clients and our team take advantage of the freedom of the long weekend. A buzz returned to Queenstown, the restaurants and bars felt alive, our guides were back to doing what they do best, and our Travel Designers got more excited than ever about the winter season ahead.
With snow predicted to fall by next week, the wintery playground of Queenstown will be coming to life. Whether you’re a skier, boarder, dog-sledder, ice driver or glacier rock climber, Queenstown and the South Island has the powder for every snow junkie – but what’s a getaway without some luxurious accommodation to retreat to after adventurous days?
We know time is precious which is why we want to help you make the most of it. With Exclusive Stay | Pay Deals and Offers now available on selected Private Villas, you can get away for longer and treat the family to free nights whilst you do it! Think shredding by day, sinking into the hot tub by evening and relaxing by the fire or in the media room at night – before doing it all over again!
So whether you’re looking for a short break, week long getaway and more, our Travel Designers can take care of all the arrangements for you, booking your luxury accommodation and treating you to some world class experiences that most will only get to dream of this winter.
Need some more inspiration? Check out the team’s favourite snow day activities below and let’s get ready to make this winter one to remember.
Soar to remote and exclusive ski fields and shred in complete privacy on the untouched powder of the day. Your pilot will be waiting to serve up a delicious glass of local mulled wine for an apres ski and view to remember.
Fly by private heli to the Isobel peak for a challenging yet insanely rewarding day. Grab your ice axe, don the crampons, get the harness connected and set off along the alpine trek with a specialist private guide. Discover the crevasses, keep your balance as you walk along the ridges and embrace the views that only most can dream of.
Experience the thrill of a sled dog team as you run through the high trails of the Southern Alps. Whether you’re driving yourself or riding along in the basket with an experienced musher at the helm, you’ll feel like a slice of Alaska has landed in your backyard.
Cruise across pristine snow at an altitude of up to 6,000ft above sea level in a private snow mobile tour exploring the dramatic landscapes and taking in the views whilst on the move. The day will be finished with a private heli flight back to Queenstown to make sure you don’t miss out in any of the picture-perfect moments.
Whatever your style, New Zealand has it. Get in touch today and let's get planning!
A couple of weeks ago a few of our team were invited to spend a night at Mahu Whenua Ridgeline Estate and Eco Sanctuary, a beautiful luxury lodge located just 20 minutes outside Wanaka.
Whilst being so close to the Wanaka township, the lodge feels incredibly remote with no one else in sight (aside from the sheep!). Upon arrival to the lodge we were all blown away by the expansive views over the stunning green landscape and out over Lake Wanaka, taken advantage of by the large floor to ceiling windows in the main lodge area.
The lodge is relatively small, with only four main suites, and another kids bunk room which can be used if the lodge is taken exclusively. Each of the luxuriously appointed suites are different styles and offer outlooks in different and equally beautiful directions, our favourite had to be the Master Suite ‘Tui’, with it’s large open shower room and copper bathtub looking out over the mountains, how relaxing!
The lodge manager Anna and host Chris really make the experience fantastic, they are so welcoming and knowledgeable about the local area. The food we had for dinner and breakfast was so delicious, made with local fresh produce, and they had a great selection of local wines to go with this.
In the morning we went for a walk down to the Stables, these are a short walk from the main lodge and are the most stunning stables any of us have ever seen!
Mahu Whenua is a fantastic place to just kick back and relax, and equally a great place to get out and explore the expansive property. You can enjoy hiking from the property, or a helicopter can land right outside and take you on one of many heli hikes in the region. One thing that really stood out for us which is a great option for those active people, is that you can pick up e-bikes in Arrowtown, Queenstown and cycle to the property, there are trails the whole way.
Thank you to the team at Mahu Whenua for hosting us and creating a truly memorable experience for us on this beautiful property!
Earlier this month several members of the Touch of Spice team had the pleasure of partaking in Wildwire’s Via Ferrata and if you don’t know what exactly what Via Ferrata is, don’t worry, we hadn’t a clue either!
Via Ferrata is basically a protected climbing route originating from Europe – think rock climbing but with iron rods acting as your steps.
The day started with a drive to the climb’s location by Twin Falls, approximately a 20 min drive from Wanaka.
Before we embarked on our climb our guide pointed to the spot where we would be heading up to, and jaws proceeded to drop. It felt so high that nightfall would be more likely to arrive before we made it up there!
However, 2 hours later we made it to our destination and along the way we got to experience an activity like no other. Our ascend included climbing, not only on the iron rods but on sheer rock faces, traversing across bridges and tight ropes and getting up close to the spectacular Twin Falls. The experience concluded with lunch at the peak of our climb, right by the waterfall and views like no other.
Our experience was made all the more enjoyable by our guide for the day, Pedro. They often say that it’s the people that make the place and in this instance they couldn’t be more right. His enthusiasm together with ability to gauge our weaknesses provided us with the encouragement to challenge our fears and get a real sense of accomplishment.
Wildwire advise that if you can climb a ladder, you can do this – and they’re not wrong. The only thing stopping you is your mind! If you find the courage to embark on this activity you will be awarded with awe-inspiring views and real sense of achievement.
The adrenalin buzz lasted the entire evening and we all couldn’t wait to share this Wanaka treasure with everyone.
Over the weekend TeamSpice with partners, husbands and kids in tow were lucky enough to have a chance to check-out New Zealand’s first gravity-fuelled mountain carting adventure at Cardrona Alpine Resort.
After checking in at the ticket counter we were fitted out with helmets, gloves, goggles and personalised overalls featuring the names of racing greats, fictional and historic. Some of our favourites were Shake and Bake, Knight Rider, Mad Mike, and Nicky Lauder.
Following a short transfer and a brief safety briefing it was time to be fitted out with our carts. Designed for performance, comfort and safety, the 3-wheeled, alpine specialized carts are imported from Europe and the only of their kind in New Zealand. A few of our more hesitant riders were thrilled that the hydraulic disc brakes were really responsive, and the carts were comfortable for all shapes and sizes.
The friendly Cardrona team load the carts straight onto the lift and off once you arrive at the top, and in between you can enjoy watching the downhill mountain bikers tackle the trails. Side note: Cardrona is also home to the home to New Zealand’s highest mountain bike park offering 345 hectares of lift-accessed terrain for beginner, intermediate and advanced riders as well as private lessons.
The mountain cart trail is over 3km long & spans all the way out to Captain's Basin. Our crew got in four laps in the two-hour window, with a few speedsters knocking out five.
The verdict: we all loved this 3-wheeled fun!
We were lucky enough to get in on the last day of the summer season, and now all eyes are on Winter. Cardrona will once again host the Audi Quattro Wintergames and we’ve all got our fingers crossed for plenty of snow!
We’ll be partnering with Cardrona this winter to develop a package were our guests can purchase their ski passes directly through Touch of Spice without the need to stop into the ticket off in town or on the mountain. Combined with in-home ski and snowboard hire and fittings, guests can breeze direct from their luxury accommodation in Wanaka (we recommend Sunrise Bay, Ridge Retreat or The Dacha) and hit the slopes for first tracks. Transportation or a luxury hire 4WD can easily be included, as can private chefs, in-villa massages to soothe those tired muscles, baby-sitting services and private lessons.
Hit us up today and get those winter plans in motion, the snow will be here before we know it!
I was lucky enough to enjoy the Queen's Birthday long weekend with my family in the beautiful lake side town of Wanaka in the South Island of New Zealand. Wanaka is an absolutely stunning location and the perfect getaway either for a family holiday or
The Residence - Villa South Pacific
This villa is an absolute jewel with views to die for! Built on an elevated plateau Villa South Pacific provides the most gorgeous backdrop looking out to Lake Wanaka, Treble Cone, Mt Roy and Mt Aspiring.
With the open fire crackling in front of you, a good book and a glass of the regions finest, this Villa feels like home. Sue the owner had pre-pared two pizzas for our arrival which she cooked in the pizza oven. They were supposed to just be for the kids but they were so crispy and delicious we couldn`t help ourselves. With its rustic Mediterranean decor and ideal location, being walking distance from both Wanaka township and the lake front my family and I thoroughly enjoyed our stay here.
The Adrenaline - Oxbow Lodge
Easily one of the most awesome adult playgrounds ever and not just for the boys either! Sprint boats, knife throwing, a "Gun Club", dirt buggies, helicopter rides, they have it all - it had the girls screaming and even the boys! Our three kids aged 8 - 13 couldn`t get enough of it. The hosts Darb and Lloyd are incredibly hospitable and ensured that everyone had an amazing time.
The Relaxation - Minaret Station
This was my third visit to Minaret and it just gets better each time! Accessible only by helicopter, the flight in is absolutely magical as you come in through the Southern Alps and land in what feels like the middle of nowhere. You might be in one of the remotest parts of the country but the cuisine is exquisite; dining on lamb racks, paua soup and chocolate mousse in complete luxury while enjoying some of New Zealand`s finest wines. Minaret Station is a must for everyone, plenty of star studded celebrities have been here - the kids were so excited just by the names in the guest book!
The Beauty - Lake Wanaka
Lake Wanaka is the heart of this beautiful town; it demands your attention and will take your breath away. It`s so serene and so vast; you could never tire looking at it. Whether you want to exercise around it or on it, or just relax and enjoy the view you will no doubt agree with me when I say it`s one of the most tranquil and untouched places in New Zealand.
The Adventure - Whare Kea Chalet
Getting to check out Whare Kea Chalet was definitely a highlight of the weekend. Only accessible by helicopter, with the most stunning views (quite honestly photos just don`t do it justice!). It`s the perfect location for a romantic proposal, a scenic lunch with friends or an ultimate overnight activity trip during both summer and winter. With the ability to go heli-skiing or hiking right on your door step it`s definitely one of Wanaka`s best kept secrets!